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Leyton Orient's Liam Kelly handed lengthy ban by Football Association after incident with Plymouth Argyle ball boy

PUBLISHED: 21:41 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 21:41 17 February 2017

Leyton Orient vice-captain Liam Kelly applauds the travelling support at Yeovil Town (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient vice-captain Liam Kelly applauds the travelling support at Yeovil Town (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The former Oldham Athletic captain will be unavailable to O's boss Danny Webb until March 18 when Doncaster Rovers visit Brisbane Road

Leyton Orient vice-captain Liam Kelly has been suspended for six matches by the Football Association with immediate effect.

The 27-year-old was caught shoving one of the Plymouth Argyle ball boys in the 86th minute of Tuesday’s League Two game, which O’s won 3-2.

Yesterday (Thursday) the FA charged Kelly for committing an act of violent conduct and gave Orient until 6pm this evening to reply.

The Brisbane Road club decided to appeal the charge and highlighted the punishment handed out to Swindon Town’s Matt Ritchie and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

Ritchie received only a caution following a similar incident back on March 3 2012 while Hazard served a three-match ban after kicking a Swansea ball boy in the ribs.

But the FA confirmed this evening that Kelly would have to serve a six-game suspension and won’t return for Orient until March 18 when Doncaster Rovers visit Brisbane Road.

A statement released by the FA tonight, read: “It was alleged Liam Kelly committed an act of violent conduct in the 86th minute which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video, contrary to FA Rule E3.

“Furthermore, The FA claimed that the standard punishment for the offence would be clearly insufficient.

“The player denied both the charge and the claim, however, following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Friday evening, the case in respect of the charge of violent conduct was found proven.

“Furthermore, the Regulatory Commission considered the standard penalty to be insufficient and ordered he serve an additional three match suspension, resulting in six matches in total.”

It is a huge blow for Danny Webb and O’s in their battle to avoid relegation from the league this season.

Kelly will miss potentially pivotal fixtures against Notts County, Cheltenham Town, Newport County and Accrington Stanley.

The length of the suspension appears harsh, especially considering the FA felt the three-match ban Hazard served in 2013 was sufficient punishment.

But Orient now have to try and put this disappointment behind them and use it as more motivation in their fight to stay up this season.

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